FAQ: The abbreviation FENSA stands for FENESTRATION - SELF ASSESSMENT.
The uk dictionary definition of the word fenestral or fenestrate is " belonging to or like a window" The word fenestration is "the arrangement of windows in a building". FENSA is used by double glazing uk trade companies to certify that their replacement windows and doors installed comply with Building Regulations Document L (and more), actually checking av. 1% of all replacement windows installations.
Did You Know?
My most FAQ., before I did this page.
Only one pair of pictures on this page, mostly just heavy reading and serious stuff:
On this subject I will be giving you the benefit of my experience, together with my knowledge, and personal opinions, but I will not be going too deeply into the specifics, because we are not wanting to give the wrong people an education, are we?
Please read this next part thoroughly, it is important for you to understand:
The actual real physical security of your property, in effectively and successfully deterring a would-be burglar is one thing - how secure you feel when you are asleep in your bed, or go off for the day to work, or go off on holiday is quite another.
When you are thinking of buying new windows/doors, you are often sold the 'feeling' of security:
The vast majority of people nowadays having replacement windows and doors fitted have little need to be concerned with the, in my opinion, negligible differences between one product and another as regards security, despite what the salespeople will try to get you to believe (theirs, and only theirs, is the best, etc., etc.). Regarding the differences amongst products, in our industry, and almost as standard, almost all firms provide all you need in the real world for security of the product, with the latest generation of high security multi-point locking mechanisms, and security glazing methods.
For you to make your own objective judgment about this:
Look at what you have now in terms of locks and security, go on, be critical, what/where is you weakest point (probably ground floor, and rear). If your property has already had replacement windows/doors, then your security is probably better than when the property was built. If your windows and doors are the original, even if you have a new-ish property, then with new windows/doors, you will almost virtually be a 'Fort Knox' with new replacements, in comparison to what you have now! You have every reason to feel confidant and far more secure than ever before with the new windows and doors you choose to have installed, but there is more to the security issue to that, in the real world.
Now that you have read, and understood, the above (I suggest you have, and do) we can get on with the subject:
Right, lets get one thing straight from the start:
There are a number of fairly easy ways to break into most homes. Sorry to upset your sense of security, but yes, I probably do mean your home, as well. My BIGGEST statement on the whole of my website is this: If you really are very concerned about the security (or the insecurity) of your property (and the subject usually arises when you are getting quotes for new doors and windows), totally forget all you might be told in sales talk about multi-point locks and extra locks; and exterior vs. interior beading, etc., etc., etc., because the whole subject is shockingly meaningless, if you knew what I know! This has nothing to do with your new windows/doors being insecure in any way, quite the reverse probably, and especially compared to what I expect you have now. Sure, satisfy yourself that the locking system is of the latest generation, and good, but really feeling, and being secure in the real world does not end there.
I don't want to upset you but:
I can assure you that I know a lot more (and several simpler) ways to get in to most homes than those above, but will not be going into the subject further for the reasons I have already given. And no, it has never been my 'other' job, one just picks up these things from many years of first hand experience in my trade.
You have got my attention, so what should I do?
In my opinion security, and really being secure, can only be achieved one way, and one way only. If you are getting quotes for new windows and doors, you can take out 90% of the security sales talk (believe me), and have a good alarm fitted. I don't mean one of the D.I.Y. jobs from either, I mean a proper security alarm, alarm company fitted. A word of warning: there is a saying that says people will not buy prevention, but only the cures, so let that be food for thought and a moral to you. In view of the above, I suggest that you do not largely base a buying decision for new windows and doors on how impressed you are with the security features. You didn't expect to hear that, did you? - but think about it!
I hope I do not offend, but of the many regular questions that I am asked by my prospective customers, I have one pet hate. The question goes something along the lines of: "and do your doors have an eight point security lock, because that is what the other mans' had". Let me tell you that the number of points is completely meaningless compared to the quality of the lock. Most multi-point locks I see that boast a great number of locking points are no more than ordinary multi-point locks that have extra 'roller cams', which are designed to pull the door up against the draught proofing, and are not at all security point in any sense. The worst scenario is when a someone 'thinks' they have a secure multi-point lock, when they haven't at all, mainly 'roller cams' catching their keeps by often not a lot more than 1mm or so, and I see quite a lot of these in my job. Mortise, and the new hook locking system (not roller cams) will offer more real security than was available ever before.
The BIG question, Interior or Exterior beading, what's 'best':
I have been compelled to find the time to do this whole page about security on an increasingly urgent basis, because of the pure weight of E-mails I keep getting on the subject. I never really quite know how to answer the one about interior vs. exterior beading, not because I do not know the answer, but because I think it may be almost an emotive subject, when the enquirer has possibly had the fear of God put up him (or her)!
My opinion about the beading types, in a nutshell:
There are two main types of glazing beads commonly in use throughout our industry, irrespective as to whether they are used internally or externally: 'knock in' (unfortunately also easy to remove), and shuffle-'security' beads (you need to be indoors first to remove the 'wedge gasket'). The two are worlds apart. You need to know the difference because this is crucially important to the issue if you have exterior beading, but this is not the same issue if you have interior beading.
Knock in beads, as far as my knowledge goes, are mainly used in the German window and door systems, but I do not know why they came up with the idea in the first place, maybe it was for use in high rise flats? In essence if this bead is used externally, then to have any security, the glass sealed unit needs to be stuck in on the indoors with double sided sticky tape, so that the bead, if removed, will not then allow the glass to simply be lifted out to effect a burglary. This is party the origination of this whole security issue, and scare story.
These pictures are used purely to show the difference between a 'knock-in' and a 'shuffle' bead: I will get some better pictures when I can, but these will give you the general idea.
You should read on...
With many (as far as I know most) English designed systems (we are different in some ways to our European friends) it has been common in our industry to design our systems to use 'shuffle' (security) beads, even in the days of aluminium. These are designed so that the interior 'wedge' gasket has to be removed indoors first, thus allowing the sealed unit to be moved a few millimetres towards the indoors, before the exterior bead can be released to facilitate removal. There is one exception: older windows used to have a separate, softer and more bulky 'fir tree' exterior gasket fitted into the beading which could be sharp knifed away, allowing enough room for the exterior security bead to be removed, but that is really on old window systems. Final note on this point: virtually all, (if not all) PVC-U window and door systems today have 'co-extruded' beads and gasket, whether externally or internally glazed, that is: beads with integral gasket that will not yield to the same security vulnerability as the early systems. Gaskets also nowadays show a lot smaller sightline, i.e. you actually see less of them for neatness.
So, do you advise Exterior, or Interior beads:
To satisfy yourself about this point if you are considering external beads, then check out the actual type of beads used in the window/door system , and ask to see a 'corner sample', that will tell you a lot about how the beads are fitted in, and what security you will really have. If you are going for interior beads then this should not be of concern.
Talking about security:
A customer of mine from around 18 months ago, when I did some windows for him had me round again on Friday 17th March 2000, to quote him for a set of new PVC-U 'French' (double doors) to the ground floor rear of his house in the middle of Basildon. His job is as a Crime Prevention Officer (C.P.O.) in one of the East End of London Boroughs, and we had a really interesting half hour chat about home and personal security. I listened to him, and he listened to me, and after that half hour, I can tell you that he knows what he is talking about! He then placed a definite order with me for what I consider to be my completely bog standard, as I advise my customers, set of French doors, after talking through all the security considerations. I rest my case, as 'Ironside' would say, and ask your Dad if that name means nothing to you.
Have a look at a picture of one of the latest generation 'shoot bolt' window locking systems, they even have a central mortise lock which similar in operation to a conventional back door.
Please bear in mind that this is all my personal opinions only.